Covid-19: No limit on funeral mourners in England from 17 May

Families and friends will be able to mourn their loved ones in unlimited numbers at funerals in England from 17 May, under new plans.

As part of the next step in easing restrictions, the government is preparing to remove the 30-person legal limit a month earlier than planned.

This means any number of mourners will be able to gather so long as they can safely socially distance in the venue.

Weddings will be limited to 30 from 17 May, and an unlimited number from June.

The limit for weddings in England is currently 15 people.

During the pandemic, many have been forced to watch funerals from home over live-streams, making grieving harder. And those able to attend have had to do without handshakes and hugs.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said people have made “huge sacrifices” – nowhere more apparent than in the “deeply painful” restrictions on funerals.

At the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral service last month, the Queen had to sit alone in the chapel in Windsor.

Only 30 people, most of them the duke’s closest family, were able to attend, in line with coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Jenrick said he would work with faith leaders and funeral home managers to introduce new arrangements to continue to keep people safe once the limit has been lifted.

In Scotland, up to 50 people can go to a funeral, with plans to extend that to 100 from 7 June. Neither Wales nor Northern Ireland has a limit on numbers, but venues can set restrictions.